I agree with much of what you wrote, but not so much with this part:
George S. Ledyard
Human beings are alive energy systems. Aikido not only allows one to integrate ones own system (mind, body, spirit unification) but provides a method for developing an intuitive understanding of how there is no real separation between all conscious beings. We are all part of Great Mind. It's not that we have to learn to be "connected". We are already connected and nothing can change that. It is the illusion of separateness that causes us to act "as if" we were.
We are all unified in the sense that we are part of the Universe (as opposed to being independent beings living in the Universe). But this makes us just as connected to inanimate objects as to other people. We are also connected to other people on a biological and social level and to the rest of the biosphere on an ecological level. No man is an island. But consciousness is, in my view, more of a side effect of having many neurons than having anything to do with something one would call a Great Mind (the fact that you feel the need to capitalize the term enforces my opinion). (For the record I don't believe in the existence of God, gods, spirits, kami or the human soul).
As such, I feel that building the connection is more an act of creating such connection than it is an act of eliminating an illusion. Our individual minds are individual, and our interests can be competing (though as social beings, humans are almost always simultaneously in competition with and dependent on everybody else around them).
Visualizing or creating the "feeling" that we are all connected through some kind of greater consciuosness may be a good way of geting oneself in the right frame of mind for creating the connection, but it doesn't make the seperateness less real.
I'm starting to feel the foolishness of this kind of philosophical debate. We can feel and act as if we are connected or as if we are separate. Without some distinction and clear definition of what makes these states different or how the Universe would act if one were true and the other false, there isn't much of a basis for saying one is more of an illusion than the other.